By Devorah Lev-Tov
July 08, 2020
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This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on Mar. 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

When visiting the Windy City, travelers often crave proximity to the lakefront and its beaches, the Magnificent Mile, and Millennium Park. Usually this means staying in the beautiful Gold Coast neighborhood, so it makes sense that almost all of this year’s winners for the best hotels in Chicago are located there, including No. 10 Four Seasons Hotel Chicago and No. 7 Waldorf Astoria Chicago — both newcomers to the list of T+L reader favorites. Just north of the skyscraper-filled bustling downtown Loop, the Gold Coast provides a quieter home base in a more secluded atmosphere filled with trees and Art Deco architecture.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

This year’s crop of top Chicago hotels is filled with comfortable-as-home accommodations — with a decided step up. Occupying the fifth spot is Acme Hotel Company, a stylish boutique property  that has all the tech hookups you’d expect, along with fun Pop art and a record-sleeve-covered elevator. Its popular lobby bar is a big draw, with “great craft cocktails,” according to one reader, and a “bar staff [that] is the best in Chicago,” wrote another. The 165-room Claridge House lands on the list at No. 9 after a recent renovation, which has imbued it with what one reader called “a great neighborhood vibe,”, explaining that “it feels a lot like a second home.”

And still, luxury is alive and well in Chicago, as evidenced by T+L readers’ No. 1 pick. Read on to see which hotel won, along with the rest of the list.

1. The Peninsula Chicago

Credit: Courtesy of The Peninsula Hotels

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 93.91

More information: peninsula.com

Just off the Magnificent Mile, this elegant tower is one of just three Peninsula hotels in the United States. The Hong Kong-based, family-owned brand is renowned for its exemplary service, plush and spacious rooms, and attention to detail. In Chicago, readers agree that the hotel is the “crème de la crème,” as one wrote, and “the epitome of luxury in the heart of downtown Chicago,” according to another. Readers rave about the Pierrot Gourmet restaurant and Shanghai Terrace bar and restaurant, world-class fitness center and spa, and what one respondent dubbed a “wonderful swimming pool.” Upgraded room technology — no outlet-searching here — and a fresh design also helped cement its win.

2. The Langham, Chicago

Credit: Courtesy of The Langham, Chicago

Score: 93.21

More information: langhamhotels.com

3. The Talbott, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

Credit: Courtesy of The Talbott, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

Score: 93.19

More information: jdvhotels.com

4. Viceroy Chicago

Credit: Christian Horan/Courtesy of Viceroy Chicago

Score: 92.80

More information: viceroyhotelsandresorts.com

5. ACME Hotel Company

Credit: Courtesy of ACME Hotel Company

Score: 92.69

More information: acmehotelcompany.com

6. Hotel Zachary at Gallagher Way

Credit: Courtesy of Hotel Zachary

Score: 90.53

More information: hotelzachary.com

7. Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Credit: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Chicago

Score: 90.10

8. Thompson Chicago

Credit: Courtesy of Thompson Chicago

Score: 90.00

More information: thompsonhotels.com

9. Claridge House

Credit: Courtesy of Claridge House

Score: 89.41

More information: claridgehousechicago.com

10. Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Score: 89.11

More information: fourseasons.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.